The Gujarat High Court issued notice to the respondents in a petition that has been filed against police personnel who had allegedly taken part in the public flogging of a group of Muslim men during Navratri in Undhela village of Kheda district.
The petition has been issued in light of what petitioners call "the breach of the directions of issued by the Honorable Supreme Court in the case of Dilip K Basu v State of West Bengal."
The Petitioners and the Respondents
The submissions have been made before the bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J Shastri.
The petitioners, who are all from Matar Taluka, are:
62-year-old Jahirmiya Malek
45-year-old Maksudabanu Malek
23-year-old Sahadmiya Malek
24-year-old Sakilmiya Malek
25-year-old Shahidraja Malek
The respondents in the petition are:
A V Parmar, Inspector, LCB (Local Crime Branch)
D B Kumavat, Sub Inspector, LCB
H M Rabari, Sub Inspector, Matar police station
Kanaksinh Laxmansinh Dabhi, Head Constable, LCB
Mahesh Rabari, Head Constable, LCB
Jayesh Rabari, Head Constable, LCB
Ruturajsinh Gopalsinh Parmar, Head Constable, LCB
Ashwin, Head Constable, LCB
Vanrajsinh Bhagubhai, Head Constable, LCB
Arjunsinh, Head Constable, LCB
Vishnu Harjibhai Rabari, Constable, Matar police station
Rajubhai Rameshbhai Dabhi, Constable, LCB
Mahipatsinh Bhagwatsinh Chauhan, Constable, Matar police station
Office of the SP Kheda
and the IG (Ahmedabad range)
The petition even mentioned the MLA of Matar constituency, who it claims, "had arrived at the court with 200 other persons who then indulged in sloganeering during the production of the petitioners." The man in question is Kesarisinh Jesangbhai Solanki.
Additionally, senior advocate I H Syed, on behalf of the petitioners, told the high court, "The policemen themselves made the videos and put them on social media. In a police van, they (the flogging victims) were brought from the police station, each person was taken out, beaten and was then put in the police vehicle… in full public view, this is what happened. This is a complete violation (of Dilip K Basu v State of West Bengal)."
Dilip K Basu v State of West Bengal
The petition also mentions a Supreme Court case. In Dilip K Basu v State of West Bengal, the apex court has laid down certain guidelines, that is, "certain basic 'requirements' to be followed in all cases of arrest or detention till legal provisions are made in that behalf as a measure to prevent custodial violence."
Some of these are:
"The police personnel carrying out the arrest and handling the interrogation of the arrestee should bear accurate, visible and clear identification and name clear identification and name tags with their designations"
"That the police officer carrying out the arrest of the arrestee shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of arrest and such memo shall be attested by at least one witness"
"The arrestee should, where he so requests, be also examined at the time of his arrest and major and minor injuries, if any present on his/her body, must be recorded at that time"
These among other guidelines have been mentioned in the petition for the court to take cognisance of the alleged police brutality against the Muslim men. The petitioners, therefore, have "humbly and respectfully" prayed that the court "punish the respondents for contempt and non-compliance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Dilip K Basu v State of West Bengal."
The petition also states "innocent persons including the petitioners" were detained after the police committed violence.
Recap of the Violence
More than 37 km away from Ahmedabad, a chilling video emerged from Kheda district of a group of Muslim men being tied to an electric pole and being thrashed by a group of men, as locals cheered on.
In the 69-second video, which surfaced online on 4 October, one of the men can be seen beating up the Muslim men with a stick, and also seems to have a gun holster around his waist. The video shows uniformed police personnel standing by as mute spectators.
It was earlier reported by The Hindu that the police had announced strict action against those policemen who publicly flogged the Muslim men.
A garba event centered around the violence was organised by the village sarpanch, which is adjacent to a madrassa. Senior police officer V R Bajpai told NDTV that a Muslim mob tried to halt the garba celebrations, which was followed by clashes characterized by stone pelting and rioting.
On the night of 3 October, "there was a garba event organized by the sarpanch. When garba started, people from the nearby Muslim community gathered and stopped women from playing garba. Soon, stone pelting started. Women and men were injured. Muslims started the stone pelting. (An) FIR has been lodged. Thirteen people have been arrested. They have also confessed to the crime," he had explained.
In total, 43 people from the mob had been identified and booked, and 150 unidentified had also been booked for the violence at the temple that occured.
Congress MLAs Imran Khedawala and Gyasuddin Sheikh of the Gujarat Assembly had then alleged that the men beating up the Muslim men are police officials. "The officials who took the law into their hands should be immediately suspended," a part of the former's tweet (in Gujarati) read.